Mindful Parenting: Engaging Children in the Life of the Home
Being joyfully present is a natural state of being for the young child. When we fully show up and work with joy our children learn to do the same.
The most important gifts we can give our children are time, love, and attention. Our daily lives are full of moments where we can bond with, empower, and teach our children. Slowing down and engaging our children in the daily work of a family can foster creativity, problem solving, compassion, and connection. Chores that may feel like drudgery to us as adults are often a delight to the young child. A dish tub full of bubbles, a basket full of laundry, a floor needing sweeping, or a windowsill asking for a dusting. All of these tasks offer endless opportunities for our families as a whole.
For the young child, the gift of being entrusted with meaningful work builds their self-esteem, develops lifelong capabilities, and bonds the family by distributing the work of the household. Young children naturally want to take part in the world around them. If we as adults can be mindfully present and open to their help, then we can give the gift of purposeful work to the children in our care. In this busy world, the daily tasks of life are considered more like burdens that are best rushed through to completion. Think of all the daily conveniences that are used almost daily in our homes: the dishwasher, the washer/dryer, the vacuum, and so on. These serve a purpose but also deprive our children from seeing the cyclical process of things. When we wash dishes by hand we can see the full process. The dirty plate going in the soapy water, the need for us to scrub it clean, to rinse it, to dry it, and to put it back in its place. These cycles are important for young children to witness and take part in. By consciously choosing to include our children in purposeful work, we can help to instill a sense of mindfulness, respect, and rhythm to the tasks of everyday life.
When we are mindfully present, we are able to engage with both our children and the work at hand. The demands of the modern world surely can distract: the ping of an email, the buzz of our phone, our laptops open for work, the TV on in the background; these all call us out of the moment. Minimizing the distractions in our home can help to create a nourishing sanctuary and allow us to create an environment that is focused and purposeful. Our children will observe and begin to imitate the way in which we work and complete tasks mindfully and with joy. It is much like a meditation practice where we become conscious of our thoughts and choose to remain present as we work. Fully engaging with what we are doing, and who we are doing it with, allows for a deeper level of meaning and engagement. Being joyfully present is a natural state of being for the young child. When we fully show up and work with joy our children learn to do the same. Viewing our home making chores as a meditative practice makes our work a spiritual endeavor and bonds us with our children in the only moment they know: the present!
At Kimberton Waldorf School, our early childhood programs provide a warm and nurturing foundation for young children and allow unhurried time for exploring and learning. We create an inviting, carefully structured and intentional atmosphere in the early childhood classroom: the warmth of adults, the tone of voice, an environment that nurtures the senses, free and imaginative play, meaningful activity to be imitated. Learning is not compartmentalized, but rather integrated into everything we do, from the math of measuring ingredients to bake bread, to circle time, to songs and storytelling that strengthen language development.
Kimberton offers preschoolers and kindergartners a creative, active, play-based environment that stimulates the imagination, spurs social, emotional, and physical development, and lays the foundation for physical and intellectual development and future academic learning. We invite the Main Line Parent Community to learn more by attending one of our monthly open house events or call today to schedule a tour. Kimberton.org
Does Kimberton Waldorf School feel like it would be a good fit for your child? Maybe you have questions for Kimberton Waldorf School Parents?
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Make plans to visit Kimberton Waldorf School at one of their open houses:
Saturday, September 15, 10:30 am – noon
Tuesday, October 9, 8:30 – 10:30 am
Sunday, February 24, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Photograph by Nancy Coe Photography.